Westell's 4Q revenue hit by industry's move away from standalone DAS conditioners

Although Westell's fourth-quarter revenue was up 12 percent annually, the company's In-Building Wireless (IBW) segment had its weakest quarter of the fiscal year, which the company attributed to an industry shift away from standalone DAS conditioners toward integrating those functions into larger network elements.

A DAS conditioner, like Westell's Universal DAS Interface Tray (UDIT), is built for optimizing signal performance between a DAS and a small cell or a macro site.

The shift helped contribute to an 18 percent annual and 33 percent sequential drop in segment revenue, leading to a $300,000 segment loss for the quarter. But Westell is hoping that the beta version of its ClearLink DAS, scheduled to ship in June, will help boost IBW segment revenue in fiscal 2017.

Westell says the ClearLink DAS will address the near-far problem—which related to mobile devices being within a DAS coverage area but still clinging to service from a nearby macro cell. The product will also feature per-carrier power assignment and reporting, designed for use in neutral host applications.

"While we would have liked a smoother transition as our standalone DAS conditioners rolled off and ClearLink DAS came on stream, we look forward to revenue contributions from ClearLink DAS later in fiscal 2017," the company said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

The company is hoping to see the ClearLink DAS contributing revenue in the hundred thousand dollar range by this summer and in the million dollar range later this year.

In addition to ClearLink DAS, Westell's IBW segment in fiscal 2017 will also release a new public safety repeater and a new line of antennas for in-building applications.

Westell also sounded confident about its DAS product competing effectively against competing offerings from Corning and CommScope.

"We have measured the performance of our product in a lab against the competitors, and we feel that we do compete very well," the company said.

While Westell's IBW segment is in transition, its Communications Solutions Group (CSG) segment had its best quarter in two years, led by outside plant solution sales. Much of that boost came from increased sales of integrated cabinets in order to help meet the demand of operators building as part of the FCC's CAF II program.

For more:
- see this Seeking Alpha transcript

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